Allergic to blood thinner, this man almost had to give up getting a heart transplant. Find out how leeches saved his life
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Jennifer Mathews: Daryl Vinson got his groove back! It's amazing he can move, let alone, salsa! Just four months before this interview, Daryl's heart shut down. Daryl Vinson: As I was driving, I felt like my body was on like a dimmer on a light, and you start to turn it down, and as I was driving, I felt like someone was turning me off. Jennifer Mathews: He went straight to the hospital. Daryl says, "80 percent of his heart had completely failed." Daryl Vinson: He said, "It's so far gone, that the only thing that's going to save your life is going to be an immediate heart transplant." Jennifer Mathews: Daryl immediately canceled his upcoming wedding and focused on getting a new heart. The catch? Daryl Vinson was allergic to Heparin; a blood thinner that plays a critical role in heart transplantation surgery. Dr. Sinan Simsir: The end result as you give Heparin to somebody and they clot a lot of things in their body. Jennifer Mathews: Cardiothoracic surgeon Sinan Simsir offer Daryl his only hope, leeches! Dr. Sinan Simsir: It just secretes this substance in the saliva and it prevents clots from forming. Jennifer Mathews: Daryl got the synthetic version of leech saliva, bivalirudin, also known as Angiomax. It kept his blood from clotting, but the risk for Daryl was not over, he could bleed to death. Dr. Sinan Simsir: There's no antidote. It just needs to get out of your system. Jennifer Mathews: But in just two hours, doctors filtered the drug out of Daryl system and with his new heart, Daryl didn't waste any time! Daryl Vinson: At that time, I was in the hospital and I was like, you know what? This would be a really good time to get married. I called the Chaplain downstairs and he thought it was a great idea. Jennifer Mathews: And now the couple has added a little spice to their salsa. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting. Jennifer Mathews: Daryl Vinson got his groove back! It's amazing he can move, let alone, salsa! Just four months before this interview, Daryl's heart shut down. Daryl Vinson: As I was driving, I felt like my body was on like a dimmer on a light, and you start to turn it down, and as I was driving, I felt like someone was turning me off. Jennifer Mathews: He went straight to the hospital. Daryl says, "80 percent of his heart had completely failed." Daryl Vinson: He said, "It's so far gone, that the only thing that's going to save your life is going to be an immediate heart transplant." Jennifer Mathews: Daryl immediately canceled his upcoming wedding and focused on getting a new heart. The catch? Daryl Vinson was allergic to Heparin; a blood thinner that plays a critical role in heart transplantation surgery. Dr. Sinan Simsir: The end result as you give Heparin to somebody and they clot a lot of things in their body. Jennifer Mathews: Cardiothoracic surgeon Sinan Simsir offer Daryl his only hope, leeches! Dr. Sinan Simsir: It just secretes this substance in the saliva and it prevents clots from forming. Jennifer Mathews: Daryl got the synthetic version of leech saliva, bivalirudin, also known as Angiomax. It kept his blood from clotting, but the risk for Daryl was not over, he could bleed to death. Dr. Sinan Simsir: There's no antidote. It just needs to get out of your system. Jennifer Mathews: But in just two hours, doctors filtered the drug out of Daryl system and with his new heart, Daryl didn't waste any time! Daryl Vinson: At that time, I was in the hospital and I was like, you know what? This would be a really good time to get married. I called the Chaplain downstairs and he thought it was a great idea. Jennifer Mathews: And now the couple has added a little spice to their salsa. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.

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